The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles

( 7 )

Overview

Motorcycles can only be termed "charismatic objects": the feelings they call up in us are nothing short of primal. Those who are crazy about these sleek machines form a fascinating subset of society, segregated by the arcana and rituals of their motorcycling life - even as they manifest an essential humanness by their devotion to an activity that concentrates some instinctual drive toward tribalism. It is this paradox that led Melissa Holbrook Pierson, over the course of ten years of riding her motorcycle in the ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (11) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $21.47   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$21.47
Seller since 2011

Feedback rating:

(469)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
1997 Hardcover New

Ships from: san francisco, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$65.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(136)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Motorcycles can only be termed "charismatic objects": the feelings they call up in us are nothing short of primal. Those who are crazy about these sleek machines form a fascinating subset of society, segregated by the arcana and rituals of their motorcycling life - even as they manifest an essential humanness by their devotion to an activity that concentrates some instinctual drive toward tribalism. It is this paradox that led Melissa Holbrook Pierson, over the course of ten years of riding her motorcycle in the United States and Europe, to want to capture - amazingly, for the first time in the motorcycle's hundred-year history - the specific what and why of motorcycling. Pierson sifts through myth and hyperbole: misrepresentations about danger, about the type of people who ride and why they do so. The Perfect Vehicle is not, however, a mere recitation of facts, nor is it a polemic or apologia. Vivid historical and social accounts take up subjects as varied as the origins of the machine, the mayhem that has long been attractive to certain elements of biker culture, the often hidden story of women riders past and present, the tale of the defiant ones who taunt death on the racetrack, and especially a portrait of the normal heart - what might be called the silent majority of bikers. These are intertwined with Pierson's own story, which, in itself, shows that although you may think you know what kind of person rides a motorcycle, you probably don't.

This book about the love of motorcycling takes a winding route, past a landscape both subtle and dramatic, literary and experiential. It makes for a ride you are not likely to forget. The Perfect Vehicle includes marvelous vintage and contemporary photographs. 224 pp.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
People who ride motorcycles live in another world, where the line between life and death often is as blurred as the center line whizzing by beneath the foot pegs. "On a bike," Pierson writes in her first book, "I am hurtling toward what I imagine is a fearful future, but I am using a fearless means to do so. It's odd as hell." Odd, too, is this book. But that's what makes it a precious piece of literature, an ode to a way of life dismissed by most worthwhile writers. Pierson's cultured yet personable and honest style will hook both enthusiasts and readers who've never even sat on a motorcyclelet alone know the difference between a Honda CBR and a Honda CRX. Pierson, a longtime Moto Guzzi rider, weaves autobiography, travelogue, motorcycling history and social commentary with delicious descriptions of the pre-ride ritual, cruising in the rain, the camaraderie of female riders (her husband, the writer Luc Sante, does not ride) and the significance of a wrong turn that leads to a cemetery at the end of a deserted cul-de-sac. The author has stared death in the face more than once, and she understands why medical professionals call her preferred means of transportation a "donorcycle." Butlike so many of America's seven million or so riders she just can't seem to permanently park that mystical machine. After reading this book, you'll know why. Photos. (Apr.)
Village Voice
The Perfect Vehicle uses motorcycles as a lens for examining risk, freedom, and most surprisingly, relationships between men and women. . . . Pierson comes through brilliantly, crafting her sentences with precision and a sure ear.— Ann Marlowe
Chicago Tribune
As Pierson tells us why she loves riding, many who share her passion will often feel themselves nodding, saying, 'Yeah, she caught it.'— Andy Solomon
Robert Pirsig
“This is an exceptionally sensitive and intelligent book.”
Ann Marlowe - Village Voice
“The Perfect Vehicle uses motorcycles as a lens for examining risk, freedom, and most surprisingly, relationships between men and women. . . . Pierson comes through brilliantly, crafting her sentences with precision and a sure ear.”
Andy Solomon - Chicago Tribune
“As Pierson tells us why she loves riding, many who share her passion will often feel themselves nodding, saying, 'Yeah, she caught it.'”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393040647
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1997
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Melissa Holbrook Pierson is the author of The Perfect Vehicle, The Place You Love Is Gone, Dark Horses and Black Beauties, and The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing and The Secret History of Kindness. She lives in Shokan, New York.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)